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School Survival > Commentary >

How to stop age discrimination (in school and elsewhere)

by Kirby

See there! A man born and we pronounce him fit for peace.
There's a load lifted from his shoulders with the discovery of his disease.
We'll take the child from him
put it to the test
teach it to be a wise man
how to fool the rest.
-Ian Anderson

When talking to my mother one day, the topic of counterculture came up. She said that many of the faults in world today can be attributed to the failure of the 60s and 70s counterculture, specifically the failure of the young people. During the era of the hippies, it was the teenagers and young adults that held the power in popular society. In short, they had America by the balls. But their power did not last.

There are many reasons why the era ended. Most reasons are to do with the phenomena of decreasing radicalism as a person ages. It can be seen looking at punk musicians that as they age, many lose their radical beliefs. They somehow become wiser as they age. This "wisdom" is useless and is only an excuse to stop fighting for ideals. Somehow it is wiser to live a ignorant life following the dictates of society instead of one filled with purpose dictated by yourself.

This relates to anti-school beliefs because one of our complaints is the lack of understanding that teachers have of students. I do not believe that this complaint is entirely true. Our teachers went to school, they know how tough it is. The lack of understanding comes from teachers selling themselves out to the establishment. Some teachers see complaints of school as silly and just teenage-angst. "I felt just like you", they say nostagically, "But I was foolish and young." And just like that, we are dismissed in an ageist fashion.

There is the question of how we can stop a repeat of the 60s. If selling out is in our certain future, then it is our duty to teach others our beliefs while we can. If not, then we have a chance. The gay lib movement has been successful because it penetrated deep into the bowels of society. There is widespread acceptence and understanding of homosexuality. This is precisely the reason why they can fight for equality and freedom from discrimination.

One major problem the youth rights movement has is that most minors accept the ageism of adults. In my English class there was a discussion about the proper age for voting. Most teens who responded felt that 18 was a good age because teens weren't ready for the responsiblity and did not know enough about politics. The idioicy of this is readily apparent. We not only have to fight the opinions of adults that call us rebels, but we have to fight the opinions of youth that think we are weird.

Discrimination is stopped is by the efforts of those discriminated against. It was not the efforts of tolerant heterosexuals that created tolerance for gays, it was gays entering the public view and proclaiming, "No more." that changed America. The only way the discrimination against minors will be stopped if WE stand up and resist. This is an uphill battle to be sure: it is always the young that come at the bottom of the chain of being.

The only way we can stop the discrimination is if all minors proclaim, "No more." We will once again have America by the balls. And this time we will not screw up.

I freed thousands of slaves; I could have freed more if they knew they were slaves.
-Harriet Tubman (attributed)

Rebelnerd's Response:

It was Vietnam that got them riled up back then, now we've got Iraq. But the "man" has learned from that experience and their methods of control have become more subtle and sophisticated. Back then teachers could use corporal punishment and the rivalry between kids and students was a hell of a lot more prominent.

But now, things have changed. Instead of controlling your body, they go for the mind. Now, especially at a young age, it's "You're all special!", "If you work hard in school, you can accomplish anything!", and "Don't worry, if you don't understand that problem I'll help you!" No more spanking, now it's all mind games. Maybe less painful physically, but much more sinister.

This serves the dual purpose of making kids feel more happy towards school at a young and impressionable age, and it also saves the school a lot of trouble dealing with nonconformists because most of the brainwashed kids will do the discriminating for the school. If a kid today goes to an adult for help the adult just says "We had it so much worse back in my day, you whiny little brats don't know what you've got!"

As long as they keep people from understanding that happiness without freedom is worth nothing, their position of power is secure.

Where to next? Pick one!

Posted in: Commentary on December 21, 2009 @ 3:07 PM

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